Yet again, 5 fantastic female authors whose style or books (at least some of them) can be categorized under transgressive fiction. Let's learn more about Lois Duncan, Tanya Thompson, Tarryn Fisher, and Natalie Young, and Marion Stein.
(April 28, 1934 – June 15, 2016)
Lois Duncan was an American writer, novelist, poet, and journalist best known for her young-adult novels, and has been credited by historians as a pioneering figure in the development of young-adult fiction, particularly in the genres of horror, thriller, and suspense. (source) Duncan began writing at a young age, publishing two early novels under the pen name Lois Kerry. Several of her novels, including Hotel for Dogs (1971), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973), Summer of Fear (1976), and the controversial Killing Mr. Griffin (1978), have been adapted into films. Her book is listed in top transgressive fiction in Goodreads and I categorize some of them under this genre as well. Her books are scary yet mostly, as they're written for young adults, are not contaminated with sex and gore.
In this regard, Killing Mr. Griffin that was banned from some California schools in the 1980s and challenged in numerous others is why I categorize it under transgressive fiction. It has been banned and challenged for having themes of violence, murder, drinking, drugs, lying to authority, peer pressure, and smoking. Still, according to the American Library Association, Killing Mr. Griffin was the 25th on the most challenged book between 2000-2009.
“Sit down every day and DO IT. Writing is a self-taught craft; the more you work at it, the more skilled you become. And when you're not writing, READ.”
― Lois Duncan
On her Goodreads, Tanya Thompson describes herself as "a mischievous criminal with a penchant for charming my way into trouble and then out of arrest." She writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her book Red Russia is sensual, comedic, and unapologetically transgressive. I use the term vast because the work pulls together classical ideas like philosophy and literature, and then, like alchemy gone mad, it mixes them with popular cultures such as games and social media. In Red Russia, the characters include an American businessman and his fortune-telling fiancee, many Russian gangsters, and a few government agents. The characters are unique with strong voices to define their differences. The plot is fast and funny, and the sheer number of topics this work covers will boggle your mind.
“The birth of a legend is the death of a hero. Every man wishes to die a hero. A hero’s death is glorious!”
― Tanya Thompson, Red Russia
Tarryn Fisher is a South African-born novelist based in Seattle, Washington, United States. On her Twitter, she describes herself as a "Writer. Reader. Liar. New York Times bestselling author. Likes the color of your blood." Her thriller, The Wrong Family is the perfect book for readers when one shocking plot twist is not nearly enough. (source) She writes primarily in the romance, thriller, and new adult genres, and is best known for her New York Times best-selling novels The Wives and The Wrong Family. My favorite book of Fisher is Bad Mommy. The genre is a thriller but you can see Transgressive elements in all of her books.
Bad Mommy which is now named I CAN BE A BETTER YOU, is a life ruiner. Yes! That's true. After you read this book you won't be able to move on from this masterpiece questioning yourself are the people in your life genuine, or are they all wearing masks?
This psychological thriller fuck you mentally. Her extraordinary writing captures you into a crazy cocoon and won't let you go until the end. It's a great example of a novel that’ll mess with your emotions. However, I believe the best example of Transgressive Fiction written by her is The Opportunist.
The Opportunist is about a woman named Olivia Kaspen who never imagined she’d get a second chance with her first love, the one she foolishly let slip away. It's a romance novel about how Olivia must fight for what was once was hers, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption. This is not a normal fluffy cozy romance novel. It's a kind of romance that makes you feel like you've been sucker-punched in the solar plexus half a dozen times before throwing you out in the middle of a busy sidewalk. It's a completely messed-up romance novel that makes you hate the main character like a good Transgressive Romance novel. You have to suffer through all of her twisted thinking and actions only to find out she ruined her chances with the man she truly loved.
“That's why writers write—to say things loudly with ink. To give feet to thoughts; to make quiet, still feelings loudly heard.”
― Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein
Natalie Young was born in London in 1976. She published her first novel, We All Ran Into the Sunlight, in 2011. Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband was published to great critical acclaim and commercial success in the UK in 2014 and has sold into a further seven foreign territories. This book is described by The Times as "A stomach-turning and terrific novel...a brilliant and literal dissection of a marriage." This book is a daring novel and as you are here, you should know I love a good transgressive novel that is raw and bravely written and this book is the type of book I was going to enjoy. The premise is simple; after thirty years of marriage, Lizzie Prain has had enough. A single blow with the shovel caves his head in and now she is free but she also has to dispose of his body. Her method appealed to her practical side; she was going to eat him. Isn't it fantastic? Natalie is now writing the screenplay for Season to Taste while also working on her third novel as part of a Creative Writing Ph.D. at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Always let the meat rest under foil for at least ten minutes before carving.
- Natalie Young,Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband
Marion Stein is a New York-based fiction writer and blogger. She also writes snarky television recaps for Happy Nice Time People. Why I put her in my list of Women Transgressive Writer is because of her book, The Death Trip. In this book, The Simulated Life Elapsed Process aka The Death Trip is advertised as a pharmaceutical alternative to end-of-life pain and suffering that result in a dream state that makes the user's last minutes feel like years spent living the perfect existence. It is a quick-read novella, around 20k words. This is very similar to euthanasia or assisted suicide, yet the author mentioned it isn't the same concept. The idea of this story is intriguing in that focuses on pumping terminally ill patients full of drugs to the point they are in their own versions of heaven or nirvana. This is not the only reason I put it in my Transgressive Bookshelf (kindle of course) but also being brave to even talking about sensitive topics (for most, not me) terminating disabled children, and this in many people's perspective is just wrong which makes it a perfect candidate for this genre.
Alright. I'm done with this post. See you in the next post which is the last BTW. I know you'll miss it so much. At least I will.